EASA Approves 737 MAX Return To Service


The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has given its approval for a modified version of the Boeing 737 MAX to return to service. As per an airworthiness directive issued on Wednesday, EASA is mandating the same modifications to the aircraft required by the FAA, which signed off on the MAX’s return to service in the U.S. in November 2020. Those changes include a package of software upgrades related to the MAX’s maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS), electrical work to address wire chafing in the stabilizer control circuit and maintenance checks along with updates to the operations manual and crew training procedures.

“Following extensive analysis by EASA, we have determined that the 737 MAX can safely return to service,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky. “This assessment was carried out in full independence of Boeing or the Federal Aviation Administration and without any economic or political pressure—we asked difficult questions until we got answers and pushed for solutions which satisfied our exacting safety requirements.”

EASA has also issue a safety directive (SD) requiring non-European airlines holding EASA third country operator (TCO) authorizations to “implement equivalent requirements, including aircrew training,” before operating MAX aircraft in territories that fall under its jurisdiction. As previously reported by AVweb, EASA conducted its own flight and simulator testing of the model prior to granting return-to-service approval. The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after the fatal crashes of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019, and Lion Air Flight 610 on Oct. 29, 2018.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. As with previous cases, these approvals and authorizations are both premature and indefensible.
    The software “upgrades” were minimal and therefore unhelpful to pilots and crew; the rest of the
    work was flimsy, slipshod, inferior–a patchwork at best, an invitation to further disaster at worst.
    The “difficult questions” weren’t asked, much less answered. The “exacting safety requirements”
    have yet to be set, let alone met. Boeing is in for more trouble. So are their passengers, not to
    mention those who either collaborate with the company or else wink an eye at them. Profits first,
    safety last is not the right formula for doing business. When you see a 737-MAX in the sky, look
    out below. And expect all flights to be grounded, the moment that clouds of doubt hit the plane.

    • State your source. If you state that you have some “back door” information, so do I. I’d fly on this plane tomorrow, at least with US pilots. Also, as mentioned by another, watch the CRs.

  2. So you gentlemen won’t fly in a MAX?

    Seems that many people are involved in this A/C and will do what it takes to get it back in the air. Also seems that what I might consider as equal is a Airbus A320 and it has been in at least (over) dozens incidents without the raving as the MAX, and don’t get me wrong in that ANY ACCIDENT is not acceptable, but they will be worked out.

    A320 family, 159 major aviation accidents and incidents have occurred, and:
    and a total of 1393 fatalities. This, per Wikipedia.